[07/30/09 - 11:49 AM]
BET's 'Pressure Cooker' and 'Bring Your A-Game' Headline BET and Viacom Education Initiatives
Both projects bow Saturday, September 12 starting at 7:00/6:00c.

[via press release from BET]

BET'S 'PRESSURE COOKER' and 'BRING YOUR A-GAME' Headline BET and Viacom Education Initiatives

Critically Acclaimed and Award-Winning Documentary 'PRESSURE COOKER' and Innovative Special 'BRING YOUR A-GAME' Premiere Back-to-Back Saturday, September 12, Beginning at 7:00 p.m.*

PASADENA, Calif., July 30 -- On Saturday, September 12, BET, a division of Viacom, will premiere two compelling specials as part of the network's ongoing education initiative and Viacom's new Get Schooled platform -- award-winning documentary PRESSURE COOKER at 7:00 p.m.* and innovative special BRING YOUR A-GAME at 9:00 p.m.*

BET has long supported education through programming that underscores its importance and the resources available to help young people achieve meaningful academic credentials. Get Schooled is a new initiative, co-founded by Viacom and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to engage a range of audiences around the education crisis through the provision of resources and information, community outreach and innovative programming like these two new shows.


There's a force-of-nature behind the door to Room 325 at Frankford High School in Philadelphia. Her name is Wilma Stephenson and she teaches Culinary Arts. She has taught at Frankford for 40 years, long before Culinary Arts became part of the school's curriculum. Infamously blunt, Mrs. Stephenson runs a "boot camp" at Frankford, disciplining her students into capable chefs and responsible students. Behind her tough-talking exterior is a teacher who cares passionately about getting the best out of her students and making sure they receive the opportunities -- including scholarships to top programs -- that will help them overcome the challenges of Northeast Philly. She can be cantankerous, and she knows it, but she will do anything for the students who get with the program and show true promise and the hunger to succeed.

PRESSURE COOKER documents Mrs. Stephenson and those students committed enough to surrender themselves to her enlightened despotism through two semesters in Culinary Arts. By the end of the school year, 13 of her students will have made it through the gauntlet. These seniors aspire to scholarships that will enable them to move on to a future filled with opportunity. At a school where more than 40 percent of students don't even make it to their senior year, Ms. Stephenson's class stands in stark contrast, with 11 members of last year's class earning more than $750,000 in scholarships. She offers the kids her version of the American Dream: You choose a realistic goal. You work hard. You work the system. You get out of Northeast Philly.


Actor and director Mario Van Peebles partnered with the Twenty First Century Foundation (a national foundation created to facilitate giving for Black community change) to produce a documentary entitled BRING YOUR A-GAME. In the documentary, prominent Black men from diverse professional fields are asked one simple question: "What does it take to bring your 'A' Game and to succeed in life?" Using hip computer-generated, video game-style design and music to present messages of success strategies, educational achievement, mentorship and discipline, BRING YOUR A-GAME seeks to reach out to its target audience of young Black males in search of role models and practical tools for professional success.

Interviewees include Richard "Dick" Parsons, Chris Rock, Ice Cube, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Spike Lee, Russell Simmons, Kevin Liles, Mayor Cory Booker, Lou Gossett, Jr., Hill Harper, Damon Dash, Kevin Powell, Melvin Van Peebles, Geoffrey Campbell, Bruce Gordon and Alan Houston. Alongside the famous faces, everyday people also share their stories of success, including Ernest Austin (Ex-Offenders Action Network), the "Three Doctors" from Newark, N.J. (Dr. Sampson Davis, Dr. Rameck Hunt and Dr. George Jenkins), and Van Jones (founder and president, Green for All).

Viewers can visit www.bet.com/OnTV/BETShows for more information about PRESSURE COOKER and BRING YOUR A-GAME.

*All times ET/PT

About BET Networks

BET Networks, a division of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA) (NYSE: VIA.B), is the nation's leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel reaches more than 98 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and sub-Saharan Africa. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions: BET.com, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; BET Digital Networks - BET J, BET Gospel and BET Hip Hop, attractive alternatives for cutting-edge entertainment tastes; BET Home Entertainment, a collection of BET-branded offerings for the home environment including DVDs and video-on-demand; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET in the United Kingdom and oversees the extension of BET network programming for global distribution.

About Get Schooled

Get Schooled is a national platform that connects, inspires and mobilizes people -- from policymakers to kids -- to find effective solutions to the problems facing our education system. It provides resources and information, community outreach and creative programming that engage a range of audiences around America's education crisis. Get Schooled's founding partners are the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Viacom, including its brands BET Networks, MTV Networks and Paramount Pictures. The initiative combines the foundation's deep knowledge of education reform with the power of Viacom's diverse brands to raise awareness about the challenges facing America's public education system. To find out more about Get Schooled and the initiative's groundbreaking national television premiere on Sept. 8, visit www.getschooled.com.

  [july 2009]  

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